Discussant: Ericka Curran, University of Dayton School of Law
2-3:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, 2023, Room M2300

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Friday, November 3rd
2:00 PM

Settler (International) Law and Displaced Transnational Indigenous (African) Peoples in Canada: Presumed Equal but Obviously Separate

Veronica Fynn Bruey


2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Documenting and validating Indigenous Peoples collective experiences with colonial violence, land dispossession, forced displacement, systemic racism, and ongoing exclusion from the nation-building process is fundamental to the idealised Westphalian state such as Canada’s constitutional monarchy. The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951 make no mention of Indigenous Peoples prosecuted and forcibly displaced by slavery, systemic colonial violence, or neoliberal capitalism (vis-à-vis globalisation). Although the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), 2007 does not define an Indigenous person it stipulates their right to belong and determine their own identity. In Canada, indigeneity is embedded and localised in section 35 of the colonial settler Constitution Act, 1867-1982. This geographical jurisdiction of Aboriginality implies that all other indigeneities in Canada are erased or unrecognised. Informed by the author’s lived experience as an Indigenous Liberian Canadian migrant. This research project examines how law normalizes discrimination and inequalities by claiming equal rights yet differential treatment for transnational Indigenous migrants in Canada. Adopting a complex mixed methodological design, the research draws on theories decolonisation, intersectionality, critical race, social determinants of health, and (Black African) feminist jurisprudence.

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Africa and the non-application of the verb ‘enjoy’?

Cristiano d'Orsi (d'OrsiCristiano), University of Virginia - Main Campus
Cristiano d'Orsi, University o Johannesburg


2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

My contribution focuses on Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on the right ‘to seek and to enjoy […] asylum’ (14(1)) –subject to exceptions (14(2)) and how this right has been translated into the domestic legislation of African countries and is applied into practice. This is because the correct application of this article by states would help to construct and develop a better future for refugees in Africa.

The first regional legal instrument to adopt a formula similar to Article 14 is the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Banjul Charter), whose Article 12(3), recalls the right enshrined in Article 14(1) of the UDHR, which stipulates that every individual persecuted shall have the right of ‘seeking and obtaining asylum’.

Although the second verb used (after ‘seeking’) is different, it is clear that the ‘attainment’ of the right mentioned in Article 12(3) of the Banjul Charter seems in some way preparatory to the ‘enjoyment’ of the same right mentioned in Article 14(1).

Thus, I analyse the theory and practice of refugee law in Africa to discover if there is a piece of sub-regional and/or domestic legislation and/or one or more adjudicated cases/s on the continent where the right to ‘enjoy’ asylum has been reaffirmed in a way that renders the UDHR applicable in this regard.

Linked to this argument I also reflect whether political shifts caused by decolonization have given rise to a real, non-imperial world, in the way that refugee law in Africa would reflect changes in political systems. This is order to better assess if the enjoyment of asylum is concrete on the continent. In converse, I am also wondering whether decolonization is a perpetually unfinished process since the goal of achieving sovereignty is contingent beyond the powers of the African state. This is because it is clear that, if my response to the above question will be positive, I could not be surprised if the attainment of the right to enjoy asylum is substantially not practicable in Africa.

Perceptions of Young African Scholars’ Migration from Africa to the Global North: A Case of Selected Kenyan Universities

Anne David
Enock Magack Masaki, Daystar University


2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

As the old adage says, ‘East or West Home is best’, that may not be so true for the young African adult. Despite Africa being a very rich continent in its culture as well as physical resources and beautiful weather to a large extent, most of the African youth who live in Africa always dream of a life abroad. So much so that the thought of migrating to the West, either the United States of America or Europe seems to offer the once in a life time solution to all their problems. This is so real that many risk death in high seas and sadly, thousands of Africans from Sub-Saharan African have died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea in search of a better life. The documented statistics paint a grim picture of the many that die in their quest for seeking greener pastures. The study will investigate the Perceptions of young African scholars’ migration from Africa to the global North: A case of selected Kenyan Universities. Therefore, answering research questions on students’ perceptions on why they migrate from Africa to the global north to join higher learning institutions, factors influencing their preferences in selecting higher learning institutions in the global North as opposed to the ones in Africa and what experiences in schooling do these university students have. This phenomenological research will adopt the explanatory sequential design after conveniently sampling the universities under study with a set of open-ended questionnaires and semi-structured in-depth interviews. The study intends to inform the reasons as why young scholars migrate from African universities to those in the global North. The results can challenge education policy makers, university leadership, pedagogy, curriculum design and financial or mentorship support for the growth of young and promising scholars in Africa.

Who Am I? A Qualitative Study Exploring Identities and Sense of Belonging of Black Migrant Women in South Africa

Eleana Velentza


2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Post-apartheid South Africa experienced a massive migration flow of African migrant women due to the accommodative Constitution of the Republic of South Africa that was promulgated in 1996. Diversity, multiculturalism, and ethnic and social heterogeneity have been some of the features and challenges of modern South Africa blending national and non-national elements. Nevertheless, black migrant women experience significant levels of xenophobia and multiple layers of discrimination because of “being a woman”, “being Black” and “being a migrant”. The perennial problem of xenophobia in South Africa towards Black Africans is complex and multifaceted; the institutional side of xenophobia circumvents other explanations including socio-cultural and structural monopolizing of the negative attitude of the South African state, politicians, and civil servants towards Black foreigners and their unfavorable treatment. This paper critically examines how black migrant women negotiate their gendered, racialized, and ethnic identities within the identity-belonging realm and highlights the significance of belonging for foreign nationals on African terrain. By analysing the lived experiences of black, migrant women and their identity-related challenges, the paper addresses the implications of these challenges as they arise in a post-colonial, decolonized South Africa. The study contributes to theory in the field of black social psychology and invisible intersectional identity within a black majority context, with practical application for finding ways for supporting their inclusion in commerce. The author employed a qualitative methodology based on narrative interviews with black migrant women of African descent using a combination of purposeful and snowballing sampling techniques. The migrant respondents’ perceptions and lived experiences of exclusion and discrimination lend support to the argument that the intersection of gender, race, and migration status affects their inclusion, and that the invisible identity of migration contributes to a sense of belonging/ non-belonging in the host country. It further highlights how black migrant women utilize multiple mechanisms to negotiate their identity and how being black, migrant females predisposes them to racial discrimination, xenophobia, and workplace exclusion, which has implications for Black identity politics, and belonging discourses.